Ben Gordon insists that it was just another game on the NBA schedule.
But Mike Dunlap knows better.
The Charlotte Bobcats coach understands how important it was for Gordon to play well Sunday in his return to The Palace after an off-season trade for Corey Maggette sent him packing following three seasons with the Detroit Pistons.
"This is a place he wants to play well. We know that," Dunlap said after his team snapped the Pistons' four-game winning streak with a 108-101 overtime victory. "Most guys in this league do when they get traded.
"We gave him as many minutes as he could take and he took full advantage. If he doesn't, we don't go to overtime. To me, he was spectacular, both offensively and defensively."
Gordon did a little bit of everything for the Bobcats, who had lost 19 of 20 coming to The Palace.
In just over 29 minutes, he scored 18 points on 7-for-12 shooting, had three steals, four assists and three rebounds. He was 2-for-5 from 3-point range.
Gordon said he didn't have an eye on the game vs. the Pistons when the NBA schedules were released last summer.
'Spectacular' Ben Gordon scores 18 in return to The Palace as Charlotte Bobcats beat Detroit Pistons
Michigan Live | Jan 7